These Last-Minute Tax Deductions Are Ones You Probably Had No Idea You Could Claim

With tax day almost upon us, you might be dismayed by what you owe, but these weird last-minute tax deductions you didn't know you can take are here to save the day. The American tax code is notoriously complex, and what you don't know might really hurt you when it comes to understanding your real tax liability. But, as long as you follow the letter of the law, you can file with a clean conscience. Though you should check with a tax professional if you have remaining questions, these possibilities researched by Stephanie Gruenhagen, Tax Attorney at Davidoff Hutcher & Citron LLP in New York, are an entertaining place to start.

For one thing, your deductible medical expenses last year might be larger than you thought. Payments to Christian Science practitioners are deductible, as they offer spiritual healing (though I wouldn't count on them getting you great results). Don't forget to deduct pregnancy tests and money you spent on items or programs to stop smoking. Measures to remove lead-based paint are deductible too, presumably because lead is such a health hazard.

If you need breast implants for your profession (e.g. exotic dancer), then those are indeed deductible. If you need body oil for your profession (e.g. body builder), feel free to deduct that too. If there are any animals at all in your service as a businessperson, the costs associated with them are deductible (think bodega cats and guard dogs). Or, if you own animals as part of your business and you breed them, those animals incur tax-deductible depreciation over time. The principle here is that it can be OK to cast a sort of wide net when it comes to deducting work-related expenses. Just be sure to save your receipts, and follow the IRS' other basic guidelines.

You might have been more charitable than you realized, too. Up to $10,000 of whaling expenses are eligible, if you happen to be a Native American whaling captain. It's far more likely that you baked something for a bake sale, and the cost of your ingredients is deductible, too.

Of course, it stands to reason that taking a bunch of obscure deductions will make you a target for an audit of your tax return by the IRS. After all, what are the odds that someone is really a bodybuilding, exotic dancing whaling captain with a lead-painted barn full of depreciating breeder ostriches guarded by mouse-hunting cats? But as long as you follow the rules, however weird they are, you'll be fine.

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